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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 06-73


Proposed Amendments to Pennsylvania NPDES General Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) (PAG-12)

[36 Pa.B. 233]

   Under The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. §§ 691.1--691.1001) and sections 1905-A, 1917-A and 1920-A of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P. S. §§ 510-5, 510-17 and 510-20), the Department of Environmental Protection (Department) seeks public comments on the proposed revisions to the Department's NPDES General Permit for CAFOs (PAG-12), the Notice of Intent (NOI) and other related permit documents. The current general permit will expire on June 16, 2006.

   The proposal contains the Department's revisions to the existing General Permit that was first issued in 2000. The amendments are necessary to reflect changes in State and Federal regulations. The amended permit sets forth the effluent limitations and other terms and conditions of the permit. The instructions for the NOI identify which operations are eligible for coverage under this general permit and which must obtain an individual permit.

   This notice provides the public and all affected parties with a summary of changes being proposed to the General Permit and an opportunity to comment.

   The following paragraphs summarize proposed major revisions to the General Permit (PAG-12):

   The permit is now referred to as an ''Approval for Coverage'' rather than ''Authorization to Discharge,'' as CAFO permits are nondischarge permits. Also, given the reorganization in the Department regions, the permits will now be issued under the Water Management Program Manager or the Watershed Management Program Manager.

   Under the General Provisions, the stipulation is made that new operations may not populate the operations with animals until coverage is approved.

   The entire ''Key Notice of Intent Requirements'' section has been removed from the permit. This section is relevant to the application process and is included in the Instructions form that accompanies the NOI.

   The ''Additional Provisions'' section has been reformatted, but the content remains the same as in the original General Permit.

   Under Part A, the ''Definitions'' section has been moved to the beginning of the section, some terms have been deleted, some have been added and some have been revised to be consistent with the October 22, 2005, revisions to 25 Pa. Code Chapters 91 and 92 (relating to general provisions; and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting, monitoring and compliance).

   Under Part A, the ''Effluent Limitations'' section now references manure storage and land application requirements enumerated in § 91.36 (relating to pollution control and prevention at agricultural operations) as well as the requirements in § 92.5a(e) (relating to wastewater treatment requirements). New storage design requirements for certain operations are explained as well as new requirements for setbacks or buffers along surface waters and for coverage or other protection of stockpiled manure to prevent discharge to waters of this Commonwealth. These new requirements are similar to changes in the Federal CAFO rule.

   Under Part A, the ''Self-Inspections'' section has been reformatted and streamlined somewhat to eliminate redundancy. The frequency of these inspections is to be weekly and after measurable wet weather events.

   Under Part A, the ''24-Hour Reporting'' section now requires submission of a new reporting form: ''Non-Compliance Discharge Report,'' as stipulated in the revised document.

   Under Part A, a new ''Annual Report'' section has been added that enumerates 7 statistics that must be reported to the Department annually. This requirement is similar to changes in the Federal CAFO rule.

   Under Part B, the ''Permit Renewal, Modification, etc.'' section adds a requirement that in cases where an operation has to amend its nutrient management plan under Act 38, it also must submit a revised NOI and receive reissuance of coverage under the General Permit.

   Under Part B, the ''Duty to Provide Information'' section adds a requirement that operations must notify the Department of any planned physical alterations or additions to the operation that could have an impact on surface waters.

   Under Part B, the only changes to the ''Penalties and Liability'' section were minor reformatting.

   Under Part B, the ''Other Responsibilities'' section is unchanged except for one additional requirement under the ''Facility Closure Plan Requirements.'' In that section, there is a requirement for a closeout inspection of the leak detection system for earth-lined facilities, along with a report of the inspection results.

   Under Part C, the format has been rearranged to coincide with § 92.5a(f) of the Department's regulations. The ''Nutrient Management'' item now includes a statement that CAFO manure must be handled in accordance with the Commercial Manure Hauler and Broker Certification Act. It should be noted that the revised regulations now require a ''Pollution Prevention and Contingency Plan'' for all CAFOs. The permit now includes a specific condition that calls attention to and requires compliance with the Domestic Animals Act when handling animal mortalities on a CAFO. For manure storage facilities, CAFOs are now required to maintain engineering certifications onsite and available to Department personnel for those facilities where this certification is required. Finally, CAFOs must implement plans to prevent discharges to surface waters from raw material storage areas, including feed storages. With the exception of the manure hauling requirement, these new requirements are similar to changes to the Federal regulations.

   The following paragraph summarizes proposed major revisions to the NOI:

   Because applicants for coverage are now required to submit approved nutrient management plans containing extensive data on manure generation and land application, the intent in developing the new NOI was to eliminate duplication as much as possible. Consequently, the detailed information that was previously requested has been replaced with a broad ''facility description'' which can either be done in narrative form or can simply reference pages of the nutrient management plan where the information can be found. The ''Client/Operator Information'' section has been formatted to be consistent with the Department's General Information Form (GIF), which applicants are also required to complete.

   The draft revised permit document package has been completed and is on file in the Department's Central Office in the Division of Conservation Districts and Nutrient Management, Bureau of Watershed Management. The package can be obtained by writing or calling the Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Watershed Management, Division of Conservation Districts and Nutrient Management, 11th Floor, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P. O. Box 8465, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8465, (717) 783-7577.

   The documents are also accessible on the Department's website at (DEP Keywords: ''Public Participation, Participate''; then choose ''Proposals Open for Comment'').

   The Department by this notice invites public comments on the proposed revisions to PAG-12, the NOI and other related permit documents. Comments must be submitted by February 13, 2006. If there is significant public interest in the general permit or if requested, the comment period may be extended at the discretion of the Department for an additional 15-day period. Only the comments received within the specified period will be considered in the formulation of the final documents for this general permit. Persons wishing to comment should include their name, address and telephone number and a concise comment statement to inform the Department of the exact basis of the comment and the relevant facts upon which it is based. If significant issues of public interest are raised, the Department may schedule a public meeting. Written comments should be submitted at the address previously listed. Comments will also be accepted by e-mail at Comments will not be accepted by facsimile or on voice mail.

   Persons with a disability may use the AT&T Relay Service by calling (800) 654-5984 (TDD users) or (800) 654-5988 (voice users). Following the specified comment period, the Department will review all submitted comments, prepare a written comments and response document (CRD) and prepare final documents package for this permit. An availability notice of the final permit documents will be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Persons wishing to also receive a copy of the final documents may request them by contacting the Department at the address or telephone number previously listed.


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 06-73. Filed for public inspection January 13, 2006, 9:00 a.m.]

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